New Delhi: Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal's pet project Aakash tablets is in a mess. Six months after the launch of the world's cheapest tablet computer Aakash, not a single tablet has been delivered so far. The Rs 2,250 tablet remains a distant dream for students.
"There are milestones in life when we feel we have really achieved something great. This is one of those milestones," Kapil Sibal had said while launching the tablet around six months back.
The tablet was co-developed by the Canada based Datawind and IIT Rajasthan as a part of India's aim to link 25,000 colleges and 400 universities in an e-learning programme.
Nothing seems to have clicked, however. Not a single tablet has been delivered so far. And it looks like the cheapest tablet PC for students might just remain a dream.
On testing, the Aakash tablet failed both in performance and quality.
The big questions
The big question, however, remains. Why did Kapil Sibal go ahead with the launch in 2011 despite snags?
How can IIT Rajasthan give a negative report of the product it designed?
How can Datawind launch its commercial tablet without delivering the government's order?
How can Datawind launch Aakash-2 without delivering Aakash-1 to government?
Datawind blames IIT Rajasthan, the tablet manufacturer for, the mess. Suneet Singh Tuli, President-CEO, DataWind, says, "We had difficulties in relationship with that manufacturer and the people at IIT Rajasthan and with that all behind us it will be easier for us to produce and catch up to the demand."
While Datawind is launching an improved version Aakash-2 in collaboration with IIT Bombay, critics claim manufacturing 1 lakh tablets in India at such a short time may be next to impossible.
Atul Chitnis, a techology consultant, says, "India does not have the capacity to manufacture so much compared to China."
As the tablet dream dangles for too long, the promise of a low-cost high-tech Aakash is now looking like another of the government's grandiose programmes - high on promise and low on delivery.